Resuming Fall Instruction
Members of the Titan Community,
We continue the process of planning for the Fall Semester. President McRobbie’s message outlined key restart dates and parameters regarding modifications to the academic calendar for 2020-2021, residential housing, health and safety procedures, campus programming, and considerations for persons at higher risk. Instruction will be a blend of in-person and on-line educational experiences and we will continue to emphasize the health and safety of the IU South Bend community as we work out the details for our campus. Information will continue to be posted on a new IU website, Fall2020.iu.edu.
As stated in the President’s message, Fall Semester classes will begin as currently planned on August 24th with all in-person instruction ending Thanksgiving week and no fall break. Any instruction after Thanksgiving to finish out the semester will take place on-line. Spring Semester will begin on January 19th with on-line instruction only. In-person instruction may begin on February 8th. There will be no spring break and the semester will end on May 9th. This scheduling will allow us to offer courses during Winter Session to help students stay on track.
Our Teaching and Learning (T&L) Restart Working Group will be considering the many facets of these scheduling parameters. It’s possible that many courses previously taught in-person may become blended with a mix of face-to-face and on-line instruction to accommodate social distancing necessary for everyone’s safety. Guidance from this working group will be used by faculty, departments and academic affairs leadership to develop details for each course. Students can expect to see clear descriptions of the mode of delivery in course syllabi.
I am excited that we will be able to welcome students back to the residence halls, although in reduced numbers. Residential life is an important part of the IU South Bend experience, but we need to take appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of our residents. Our Housing, Dining and Parking (HDP) Restart Working Group is working out the details and we plan to have information available soon on what this means for IU South Bend students.
Our Facilities and our Employee Welfare, Health and Safety Restart Working Groups will make recommendations regarding access to offices, classrooms, common spaces and other facilities based on IU guidelines, which are based on CDC and state guidelines. I know that many of you are also concerned about policies and procedures for those with pre-existing health conditions that may place them at higher risk. Appropriate procedures for addressing these concerns will be established so we can continue to put the health and safety of our community first.
Other Working Groups are also being mobilized and we look forward to their insights and input as we all work together for a strong and safe restart. Overall, we anticipate over 75 faculty, staff, students and administrators to be involved in our seven working groups. I am very thankful for so many members of our IU South Bend community stepping up to meet this challenge.
Details on all of the above and more will be available on the Fall 2020 IU South Bend website.
Our success in managing the impact of the virus on our community will depend on how well we all follow public health recommendations for safe interactions. Until there is a vaccine, we know there will be continued risks in coming back together and testing will be an important aspect of our risk management. We will have a COVID-19 testing site on campus for members of the IU South Bend community. More information about the screening and testing protocol will be available via One.IU starting June 1.
IU Research has also announced parameters for restarting research activities beginning June 1. Please see Guidelines for Resumption of Research for information and requirements for PIs to meet to ensure a safe restart. This guidance is for research activities only and should not be construed for broader returning to campus work environments.
Patience and persistence will be required for us to continue our careful planning to safely restart learning and working on campus. Our mission is to serve the people of our region, so we must do so with conviction as well as appropriate measures to keep everyone safe. We have really come together as a community and I know we will continue to do so with respect, understanding and focus on our students and our mission.
Susan Elrod, PhD